Friday, April 29, 2005

[Personal] Happy day not so happy

Today is the day when I finally move into my new house. I am supposed to be happy and excited, but I am not, at least not at this moment. A couple of reasons:

- My company is in the bottom of the sewer right now. Earlier this week an official announcement has been made about layoffs. Today there is news that talks of sellout is in progress.

- My movers were supposed to arrive at 9:30AM. They didn't. Instead they will come at 12:00PM due to a truck scheduling probably.

That's it for this post. Lack of a keyboard on my PDA impedes my "inspiration".

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

[Misc.] Funny funny "Dangerous Hacker!"

Must read. Be patient and read till the end, you will be awarded: Total Illusions - The Forums -> Dangerous Hacker!

Friday, April 22, 2005

[Internet] Condensed history of China

My main workstation is still down and waiting to be picked up by IT. Feeling bored, I decided to refresh my Chinese history. I was looking for a more in-depth version in Chinese (the language), but my laptop (PIII 700mhz, 256mb RAM, good for checking emails only) didn't have the Chinese IME setup, so I ended up searching in English and found The Birth of Modern China. It's a good short read, mainly facts with few opinions sprinkled in between. Near the end I found one paragraph I especially like. I have quoted two paragraphs, the first just leads into the forementioned one.

On the other hand, they did do their best to prop up the ailing Qing, the most notable example being the crushing of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 by foreign troops (primarily U.S. Marines). What the Western powers were interested in was the carving up of China for their own purposes, and that, paradoxically, required keeping China together.

But two things happened to prevent that. First, in 1911, the Qing dynasty collapsed and China plunged headlong into chaos. Second, in 1914, the Archduke Ferdinand told his driver to go down a street in Sarajevo he shouldn't have, and Europe plunged headlong into chaos.

Ok, it's been fifteen years since my last real grammar lesson, but is this some kind of parallelism?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

[Internet] Great design:

I came across this blog site designed and owned by Pariah S. Burke. The site's use of color and layout is unique and pleasant. It's definitely not the Kubrick theme, which is now the default theme for Wordpress 1.5.

I admire those with creativity, something that I am sadly lacking.

[Misc.] All powerful professor and his laptop

It's great to be connected. Regardless of whether that's true, at least one can bluff using the right terminologies. From my experience it seems that no one should ever mess with a professor from a major university, as this laptop thief has learnt.

Update: It was a bluff and didn't work.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

[Personal] “可笑”的律师公司


[Misc.] The way to play Dance Dance Revolution

Think the "Easy" setting in Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is hard enough? Well, I for one do. The toughest songs I could ever complete are those with predictable beats from the "Moderate" setting. I have never even tried "Difficult" in my whole two years of owning my DDR game.

Anyway, there is a video of a kid who can play DDR on its hardest setting while juggling three pins! There is inspiration for you. I often wondered if those tough songs were humanly possible to complete. I guess now I know, really know.

[Moblog] BSOD

[Moblog] BSOD

I came to work this morning and was greeted by a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) on my main workstation. Multiple reboots only resulted in multiple BSODs. Only the "Safe Mode" worked but I didn't know my local login - we normally log in using network domain username/password.

My theory? Last night I left the machine to do a full compilation. Without our knowledge the IT department also pushed a patch requiring machine restart. These two must have collided in a BSOD sort of way.

I am just glad that I didn't come to work at 9am this morning (10am is typically the acceptable starting time for engineers). Otherwise I would have wasted one extra hour of beauty sleep.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

[Personal] Official home ownership

As of yesterday I am officially on record as the owner of the house. It will just be another two weeks before we move in since we gave the seller free rent-back. Our apartment is a mess with all sorts of things packed half way. Oh did I mention my bank account is pretty much empty?

Friday, April 15, 2005

[Singapore] Funny laser gun army story

I always get cracked up when reading these army stories over at Days were The Those. This one is no exception:
platoon commander:"what the fuck are u doing?!"
platoon commander:"u were told to make the sounds of gun fire! wat were u doing?!"
me:"erm sir, my gun can shoot lazer."

[Singapore] Reward or punishment

Disclaimer: I didn't physically hear this happen over the radio but instead only read it through this blog entry.

I can't believe that Singaporeans are being awarded for things like sleeping with girlfriend's mother. True, the radio show gives awards for the best ("deepest, darkest") story it gets, regardless of the nature. And true, it's not the DJ's responsibility to judge what is right and wrong. But doesn't instances like this just send out the message that doing wrong things can still be rewarded somehow?

[Portal AV] Cowon iAudio X5 pictures

Cowon iAudio X5 - Originally uploaded by gadgetdude.

As usual, Engadget provides the scoop on latest gadgets. This time it pointed me to DAPreview, which has more pictures of Cowon's iAudio X5. Some say they don't like the "bump" at the top, but I kinda like the resulting curve. That color screen is just beautiful. Did I mention it's the size of a 40GB iPod?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

[Personal] Decision at work

This afternoon a colleague told me over the phone that his group has 5 openings and asked me if I am interested. Should I attempt an internal transfer?

For transfer:

  • That group is working on the next generation product, therefore the work would be more challenging and fun.
  • More interesting stuff on my Resume.
  • My current work is boring.
Against transfer:
  • Our company is not doing too well. The current product line I work on has customers and is therefore more stable. The next generation product won't have customers in the near future, so its future is uncertain.
  • I am doing pretty well in my current group. It's very likely that my manager will decline the transfer request.
  • It will be busier over there. I just bought a new house and need some free time to settle in.

I know it seems that the "against" list is longer, but then each point is not weighted equally. What to do, what to do?

[Misc.] Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Air Purifier may make air worse

I was going to buy two of Sharper Image's Ionic Breeze for my new home after hearing a friend say how effective these air purifiers are. They certainly aren't cheap at $450 each (although second one is only at $225). Now I read that Consumer Reports claims these purifiers actually pollute air more by emitting "unhealthy amounts of ozone". Luckily I read this before putting down $675 for two of them. Guess it's back to old fashioned dusting.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

[Moblog] Comfortable Frosty

[Moblog] Comfortable Frosty

Our dog Frosty resting comfortablely at home.

[Personal] Blog anonymously?

Something has been on my mind ever since I started blogging in 2003: should I reveal my true identity in my blog? If I do then I can probably make my blog more interesting and personal. I can write more freely and not worry about what to censor. On the other hand revealing my name can severely limit what I write online. One of the topics I like to rant about is work, and I just don't think I can write freely about work if I feel that the blog endangers my job security. Other types of complaints would probably be cut as well. This may not be bad for readers, but it does take away some of my blogging pleasure.

The mental debate continues...

Update: Here is a guide on blogging safely (aka anonymously).

Saturday, April 09, 2005

[Moblog] Speed trap?

[Moblog] Speed trap?

Speed trap? Neh, it's just me sitting in my parked car waiting for my wife to return. Windows Media Player is playing some music, PocketIE is running in the background, and I just thought a picture is due.

[Personal] Furnitures are mine

We bought a set of furnitures from a guy who is leaving the country. Today we hired movers to transfer them to a storage location. Everything went quite smoothly, and best of all, it didn't rain!

Three more weeks before I move into my new house. Yippy!!

[Internet] Craigslist + Google Maps

Bloglines is my daily-visited site. For my wife that honor goes to Craigslist, a super popular listings directory. It's just too bad we have already bought a house, otherwise she might find use in this integration of Craigslist housing ads and Google Maps .

Friday, April 08, 2005

[Personal] Chinese soap 杨门虎将

My wife is now into the Chinese drama Warriors of the Yang Clan (杨门虎将). When searching for a picture for this post I found out that the main actress (蔡琳) is actually Korean.

[Internet] My 5-minutes thoughts on Friendster

I had signed up for Friendster before but quickly deactivated my account because I had problem even responding to a friend invitation. Now that I have played with Yahoo 360, I thought I should give Friendster another try. Because I am a geek.

It's good that Friendster no longer requires an invitation to sign up, so I just "reopened" my account using the same email address. Upon login I noticed that my previous Friendster invitation was still valid, so I accepted that invitation. Yes, I was finally able to add a friend!

Here is a quick impression of Friendster, much of it is in comparison with Yahoo 360:

  • Friendster displays way too many ads on every page! This is not scientific, but I feel that the two blocks of ads together occupy up to a quarter of the home page content.
  • Friendster's UI is bland compared to that of Y360. Y360's layout just seems more logical and appealing to me. Friendster's ads probably have some ill-effects here as well.
  • I like Friendster's horoscope feature. It's nothing useful, but a cute read nonetheless. I like innovations such as this.
  • Friendster's free blog, powered by TypePad, is served with ads. Still, it looks clean and offers features such as categories. Y360's blog cannot compete. I got 50MB of space and 0.25GB of monthly bandwidth. I can upgrade to an ads-free version for a fee.

Friendster's omnipresent ads is the deal breaker for me. Yes, they have to make money, but the ads do occupy quite a lot of space. Besides, I just see more potential in Y360 since they have more services that could be integrated.

Update: Here is a picture of my Friendster page showing the ads.

[Internet] Yahoo News redesign

I came across the article Inside Yahoo News: Aggregator brings RSS to the masses via this page. The article has a screen capture of what the new Yahoo News would look like when it's released in late April. I like the new look, it's less cluttered with a UI design similar to Yahoo 360. I hope with the new logical layout Yahoo News can finally be my one-stop news agregator.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

[GPS] Magellan Roadmate 700 vs. Lowrance iWay 500c

Tom's Hardware Guide has a in-depth look at two portal hard-disk-based GPS solutions. For a while last year the Magellan Roadmate 700 was my favorite, so this article was quite a good read for me - it took me two days to read it, but it was a good read nonetheless. I like the screen captures, they finally showed me what the Roadmate looks like in action. The store display models could only be run in demo mode, and unlike Garmin's, that mode doesn't show what the display is like during routing.

My favorite GPS-to-be is the Tom Tom Go 700. Yap, another "700".

[Personal] Difference in a day

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was feeling crummy because the flood insurance for the new house turned up to be tricky. Some sort of elevation measurement is required and the yearly amount will double my total property insurance. Then today the seller informed me that he has a letter that proves flood insurance is not needed. Hooray! I will probably not know whether the letter is effective until tomorrow, but that at least gives me one day to feel less crummy.

Monday, April 04, 2005

[Misc.] Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

The Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells is just what I need (if all I need are dumbbells - I probably need the whole gym). It looks like a winning concept. All you need is one set of dumbbells and just "dial" the desired weight. No racks needed to house the traditional set of individual dumbbells. Alas, the wallet needs to be heavy-weight as well to support the $400 price tag. For that price I can probably buy a cheaper Bowflex gym clone.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

[Personal] Blogging and work

I just realized that blogging has affected me at work in ways other than just consuming more office time. I am more "liberal" when it comes to updating work status. This may or may not be good. For example, on Friday I put something like "...the machine is sooo slow, it takes 5 minutes to..." in the customer issue updates. I think before I started blogging I would have never put such things down on writing.

[Software] Version control software recommendation?

I am thinking of setting up a version control software at home for personal use, you know, for whatever pet "projects" my 10-minute attention focuses on. Of course the software would need to be open-source. I am aware of the famous CVS back from the school days, but I wonder if there is a better, more modern and user friendly offering. This webpage offers some help, but it doesn't mention the strength and weaknesses of each package. Now I am fully aware of how few people actually read my blog, but I want to ask anyway: can someone suggest a version control software for my case?

My requirements are as follows:

  • Mainly for single user (me). I wouldn't mind if it supports multiple users, but that's not as important.
  • Low resource overhead.
  • Command line + GUI, preferably with Explorer integration.
  • The basic features such as checkin, checkout, rollback, etc.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

[PDA/Cellphone] TV cellphone

The NEC N940 TV phone looks nice. I wonder how many frames per second one can get on that thing. Maybe it won't be a problem if it uses over-the-air signals instead of cellular data signal (like Sprint's attempt?).

Friday, April 01, 2005

[Personal] Today's work pattern

Today I was working on a supposedly super hot customer issue, an issue that stops customer's production rollout. You know, one so highly visible such that the VPs give a hoot. The entire defect scenario involves about 5 steps to reproduce, and I was given a debug environment with the correct setup.

That machine was so freakishly slow! For one of the steps it could take more than 5 minutes to complete and yet another 10 to recover to a clean state. As any programmer knows, it often takes more than one debug cycle in order to identify the problem, especially if the bug is tricky and unfamiliar. So my day was spent on clicking, waiting a few minutes, analyzing, and clicking again. Who would have thought waiting for a computer could be so tiring?!

By the end of the day I managed to find the defect cause (but not the fix since it's not my area). Y360, Bloglines, and Blogger had prevented me from going crazy.

And that's no April Fool's joke!

[PDA/Cellphone] More preview of Windows Mobile 2005 (Magneto)

I am definitely a PDA fanatic (and now a PDA/smartphone nut). I want to get my hands on any information on the upcoming Windows Mobile 2005, aka "Magneto". With that said, here is one more Magneto preview I just found tonight.

[PDA/Cellphone] PocketInformant 2005 released

PocketInformant 2005 is released today. I had played with the beta, so most likely I will upgrade for $15. It's not a revolutionary upgrade, but I find some of the features useful. Besides, I want the latest and greatest! :)

[Internet] Gmail rich text editor

Gmail rich text editor - Originally uploaded by gadgetdude.

Others have been reporting about Gmail's new rich text editor, but today I finally saw it for the first time in my account.

[Internet] More Yahoo 360 praises

I like Yahoo 360, and I am certainly not alone.